Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Buttonball Tree)

Easily recognized because of their large leaves and mottle, brown-cream bark, American Syacmores are fast-growing deciduous trees frequently growing to 30 meters (100 feet) tall.

Platanus occidentalis (American Sycamore, Buttonball Tree)
Deciduous: yes
Hardiness Zones: 4-9
Height: 22-30 meters (75-100 feet) (up to 46 meters (150 feet)) tall
Diameter: 22-30 meters (75-100) foot wide canopy, up to a 5 meter (16 foot) trunk
Growth Rate: fast (up to 1.2 meters (4 feet) tall 1 year after germination)
Age: possibly over 250 years old
Root System: strong, spreading
Family: Platanaceae
Subspecies: none

Tolerates: herbivores (deer), urban pollution (poor air quality), light shade
Problems (major): sycamore anthracnose
Problems (minor): canker, leaf spot, powdery mildew, borers, scale, Japaese beetles, caterpillars, mites, litter in autumn
Poisonous: The foliage is believed to cause hay ever in warm climates.

Soil requirements: prefers nutrient-rich, humusy, moist, well-drained soils
Air requirements: tolerates urban air pollution
Watering requirement: moderate to high (moist to wet)
Sun requirement: full sun

Needles: none
Cones (male): none
Cones (female): none
Leaves: 3 or 5 lobed, 10-25 centimeters (4-10 inches) long, alternate, toothed
Flowers: bloom in April, male flowers yellow, female flowers red
Fruits: Spherical, light brown clusters persist into deep winter. The individual fruits (know nas “achenes”) have the seed attached to a lightweight, fuzzy end designed for dispersion
Seeds require stratification: yes
Monoecious or Dioecious: monoecious

Notable characteristics:
The wood peels with age; the brown outer bark falls off to reveal a creamy white color underneath. The leaves are massive, and American Sycamores grow to
enormous heights. P. occidentalis is considered to the largest tree native to the northeastern United States.

Uses:
These are infrequently used as ornamentals, more commonly as shade trees. The wood has been used for a variety of purposes, including furniture, crates, and
dugout canoes.

Sources used:

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Foliage with a developing cluster of achenes

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A cluster of seeds in spring

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The peeling foliage

American_sycamore
Bark and information (from the Missouri Botanical Garden)

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Close-up of a leaf

All of the images provided were taken by me. They may be used for educational/informational purposes only, provided that this article/online journal is
appropriately cited first.

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